Last Sunday morning, the rocky bottom of the Panachi Amman temple tank became clearly visible after more than 350 residents of Nanganallur joined hands to clean it. They picked plastic bottles, bags and cups; old tyres, cloth, packaging material and garden waste from the tank bed.
In a three-hour exercise, the residents split themselves into four groups and worked relentlessly in the dirt and dust — all with the hope that when it rains this monsoon, it would help recharge groundwater in the locality.
Though they were really tired after the clean up, residents like Ram Ganesh, said they felt a sense of accomplishment. “It has been two years since the tank was last cleaned and it is always kept locked,” he said.
Prashanth Vijaykumar, a resident of 34th Street, who started the initiative through a Facebook page, said that around 18,000 people responded to the post and within a few days a plan was put in place.
“We formed teams to collect the cleaning equipment including snacks, gloves, water, masks and sacks. We did not accept any cash donations but accepted the cleaning material people offered,” he said. Sathish, the brother of the former Corporation Councillor helped them with obtaining permissions from various government departments.
M. Kannan, a resident, was overjoyed to see citizens come together to fight for their neighbourhood. “We can’t expect the government to do everything. Our children will see us working to keep our locality clean and learn from us. Those who throw garbage into the tank will desist from doing it. We hope that the tank will help recharge groundwater once the monsoon sets in,” he said.
The next plan of the residents is to plant saplings along the tank area.